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All Okay after Cessna Skyhawk Ditches in Oregon Lake
Last Sunday morning Scouts of Troop 150 from West Salem, Oregon, were breaking camp along the shore of Marion Lake in Oregon’s Willamette National Forest when they spotted a Cessna 172B that was clearly in trouble.
Their leader, Matt Matthews, said that as the Skyhawk cleared a ridge and settled toward the surface of the lake, one scout said, “I think he’s crashing, not landing.” The scouts watched as the pilot, 28-year-old Trevor Schultz executed what the scouts and hiker Ben Kamph described as a perfect water landing about 200 yards from shore. The airplane quickly sank in shallow water, but Schultz and his three passengers were uninjured and easily swam to the beach.
The sightseeing flight was a birthday gift for Tyrel Miller. His father Tim, 47, and sister Megan, 12, were also on board. Schultz was over heavily forested terrain in the 1961 Skyhawk when he began to experience engine trouble and lost all power. He said the lake was his best option for a forced landing. The elder Miller told the Oregon Statesman Journal, “It happened so fast. It’s like a dream. I’m very thankful, I can’t say it enough. I really appreciate Trevor for keeping my kids alive.”
Matthews said, “Our kids were prepared. They didn’t freak out.” The scout troop provided dry clothing and hot chocolate for the four, and escorted them to a trailhead where they were picked up by authorities.
The NTSB is investigating the cause of the engine failure. Grady McMahn, a forest service district ranger, noted that pollution was not an immediate problem. On Tuesday he said, “So far it looks good. There was nothing coming out of the plane yesterday.”